UniCredit Bank is obliged to pay a €131 million (about $143.84 million) punishment to the impacted firm in the first round of a two-year dispute over the closure of a current account belonging to a cryptocurrency mining farm.
According to La Repubblica on March 27, the popular Italian bank’s branch office in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been summoned to appear before a local court in connection with a complaint filed by the country’s subsidiary of the Italian crypto mining business Bitminer Factory.
The bank was accused in the case of improperly closing accounts belonging to the firm, which touts itself as Italy’s “first and biggest mining farm.” The court recognized the company’s claim of loss and granted it €131 million in damages.
The firm said that the deletion of its accounts “harmed its initial coin offering (ICO) in connection to a startup initiative in the cryptocurrency mining industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina using renewable energy.”
Bitminer Factory d.o.o Gradiska was established in Bosnia and Herzegovina to take advantage of the country’s reduced power prices, with impacted accounts created with UniCredit Bank Banja Luka.
After initially allowing the mining company’s frequent requests to withdraw the generated cryptocurrency, the bank began refusing them on the grounds of “inability to do business with digital currency providers and exchange platforms.”
The court, however, determined that the bank had made no evidence that it had any written policies barring the development of commercial connections with customers who dealt in cryptocurrency.
According to local media reports, the bank has already appealed the court judgment, alleging that it is “not conclusive, binding, or enforceable.”
UniCredit noted that its “potential responsibility will be assessed only after all available procedural options have been exhausted and not before the appeals court issues a decisive and binding decision.”
The farm’s decision to operate in Bosnia and Herzegovina was inspired by the large quantities of power needed by Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) mining and the country’s reduced electricity costs.
Miners worldwide have been battling to offset these expenses, resorting to techniques ranging from stealing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of energy to developing solar-powered mining equipment.
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